When Magnificat junior and Avon resident Grace Jenny was growing up, soccer was her game of choice.
Then she picked up a lacrosse stick.
That stick and her decision to follow a different path led Jenny to a Division I scholarship.
The Blue Streaks star midfielder-attack recently orally committed to play college lacrosse at the University of Louisville. The Cardinals are a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, generally recognized as the top conference in women’s lacrosse.
“Honestly, it’s overwhelming,” Jenny said of committing to Louisville. “It’s a great honor to be able to play with the best players from across the country. I’m really happy.”
Jenny started playing with the Avon and Rocky River youth programs and eventually moved on to travel ball with Ohio Premier and then with the elite Midwestern Force programs in addition to Magnificat. It was when she was a middle school player that she first met new Magnificat coach Kayla Miller.
Jenny impressed Miller as a middle school player with her work ethic. Now that the two have been reunited it’s Jenny’s skills that have impressed her Miller.
“When Grace has the ball she has a strong drive to get to the cage,” Miller said. “Sometimes when girls get the ball they are kind of timid. Not Grace, she likes to drive to the goal and make big plays and that helps the entire team.”
Jenny scored 15 goals in her freshman season and followed that up with a 44-goal sophomore season that earned her second-team all-region honors. She doesn’t just finish scoring plays at the net, she also helps the Blue Streaks gain possessions with 38 draw controls over the last two years.
That’s the level of play that attracted the interest of Louisville coach Scott Teeter. When Jenny visited the school she knew she had found the perfect fit.
“The recruiting process was long but when I took a trip to Louisville, saw the campus and met the coaches and the team I decided right away it was the school for me,” Jenny said. “They have great academics, coach Teeter’s philosophy is a great fit for my game and I really got along well with the girls on the team.”
“Academics was the top priority when I was choosing a school. I wanted to make sure a school had the major that I wanted,” Jenny said. “Louisville has a strong science program and I think I want to major in biology.”
Miller said having Jenny commit to an ACC school is big for the entire Magnificat program.
“It’s hard for girls from this area to go Division I,” Miller said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for Grace and it’s a really good for Magnificat as well. The younger girls see how Grace worked her butt off to go D-I so they know that even though we don’t have a feeder program like Hudson or Jackson where the girls are starting at a really young age it’s still possible to do big things.”
In case Jenny ever needs a reminder that an oral commitment is just a step in the process and not an ending, she has a reminder hanging in her room.
“I have a huge Louisville banner on my bedroom wall,” she said. “It’s hanging above my bed so it’s the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up. It’s a reminder of the big dream. The dream I have to keep working for every day.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.